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Politics Lawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal

05:50  10 december  2019
05:50  10 december  2019 Source:   thehill.com

Congress, White House Reach Tentative Deal Over Paid Parental Leave for Federal Workers

  Congress, White House Reach Tentative Deal Over Paid Parental Leave for Federal Workers Congress has struck a tentative bipartisan agreement that would authorize 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all federal workers, in a potentially historic deal negotiated with the White House. Draft language for a must-pass annual defense policy bill includes a provision that would allow 2.1 million civilians who work for the U.S. government across the country to take paid leave to care for a new baby after birth, adoption or the initiation of foster care, according to multiple people familiar with the deal.

When Congress took up a must-pass defense bill earlier this year, President Trump saw it as a rare Ultimately, Democratic lawmakers and the White House ultimately struck a tentative bargain late last week to create Space Force in exchange for new parental - leave benefits for the federal workforce.

Three months’ paid parental leave for a brand-new branch of the military? It’s a deal ! The Space Force would conduct specialized missions, including surveillance and the defense of American Both measures would be part of a military budget authorization bill that could be voted on next week, The

House and Senate negotiators on Monday released an agreement for the massive annual defense policy bill that would give federal workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave in exchange for creating President Trump's long-sought Space Force.

a large stone building: Lawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal© Getty Images Lawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal

The $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) covers everything from how many planes and ships the military can buy to reforming privatized military housing.

News broke Friday night that this year's bill - the result of months of negotiation between the Democratic-led House, Republican-led Senate and the White House - also includes a historic deal to provide paid parental leave to all federal employees.

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  Military Spouses, Gov’t Workers See Wins in $738B Defense Bill Negotiators on the 2020 Defense Authorization bill have agreed to repeal the “widow’s tax,” which had shortchanged military spouses on the amount of survivor benefits they could collect. © Bloomberg U.S. military personnel gather to board the USS Wasp aircraft carrier ahead of the Memorial Day address by U.S. President Donald Trump at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Trump said talks with Japan focused on security and a trade deal between the allies are going well ahead of a meeting with U.S.

The parental leave provision would be a victory for federal workers, who would face benefit cuts under Trump’s budget submissions. Numerous details regarding the space force idea remain to be worked out and funding would be delivered through separate spending legislation also taking shape behind

the annual defense authorization bill that for the first time will include paid family leave for federal deal , reported the paid family leave provision was agreed to in exchange for making “ Space Force ” the In the past four years, the number of lawmakers supportive of paid family leave has more than

"This conference report is the product of months of hard-fought, but always civil and ultimately productive, negotiations," the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees said in a joint statement Monday.

"The NDAA remains one of the few authorizations bills that Congress passes year after year," they added. "That is because both houses of Congress and both parties, recognize its importance and work together to support the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, and to provide them with the resources, equipment, training and policy needed to protect our nation."

The House is expected to vote as soon as Wednesday on the compromise bill.

Lawmakers have officially been negotiating this year's NDAA since September, though staffers and key lawmakers started talking behind the scenes after the House passed its version in July. The Senate version passed in June.

Democrats leveraged Trump’s fixation on Space Force to pursue parental-leave victory for federal workers

  Democrats leveraged Trump’s fixation on Space Force to pursue parental-leave victory for federal workers In private negotiations, Trump aides were willing to make dramatic concessions to secure Space Force.

Space Force would reside within the Air Force, similar to how the Marine Corps exists within the Navy. The must-pass bill includes a provision that would allow more than 2 million federal government workers to take paid leave to care for a new baby or for an adopted child. Parental leave was a

Negotiations over the defense authorization bill have been ongoing for several months, and His admirers have worn Space Force shirts and hats. The Pentagon has established a Space The paid leave would also apply to single, same-sex and transgender parents because it would be a parental

For months, negotiators said the top issue holding up talks was Trump's border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The House bill had included several provisions restricting the use of Pentagon funding on the wall and the department's ability to transfer money between accounts.

The Senate's version did not include those restrictions and would have backfilled $3.6 billion in military construction funding previously taken for the wall.

Ultimately, negotiators decided to leave border wall questions to the appropriations process, which is ongoing.

"Conferees in both parties intend to continue monitoring border support missions and assessing the impact on military readiness, but deferred final decisions on border security support to the FY20 Appropriations process," a summary released by the committee said.

Also jettisoned were Democratic-championed provisions to regulate cancer-linked "forever chemicals" known as PFAS that has contaminated the water at several hundred military sites.

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Democratic lawmakers and the White House have tentatively agreed to a deal for a must-pass defense authorization bill that would give Trump his "White House officials said she was integral in fighting for the extension of new parental - leave benefits, though Democratic officials minimized her

a deal on the annual defense authorization bill that for the first time will include paid family leave deal , reported the paid family leave provision was agreed to in exchange for making “ Space Force ” After 3 years of relentless advocacy, the passage of the NDAA will secure Paid Parental Leave for

The House-passed version of the NDAA would have forced the cleanup of PFAS under the Superfund law and would have directed the EPA to set a maximum contaminant level.

House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-Wash.) previously said Republicans refused to sign onto the compromise bill if those provisions were included.

The bill does include a ban on the Pentagon's use of firefighting foam with PFAS.

Also eliminated from the final version were House-passed provisions to reverse Trump's transgender military ban, block Trump from taking military action against Iran and withdraw U.S. military support from the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

But Democrats did secure a major win in the final bill with the parental leave policy. The House-passed version of the NDAA would have created a broader family leave policy, but top Democrats cheered the inclusion of the parental leave deal.

"I am glad that the NDAA conferees have agreed to include twelve weeks of paid parental leave for all federal employees starting in October of next year," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement Monday. "While I believe federal employees should be extended full paid family and medical leave benefits, paid parental leave represents a significant first step toward that goal."

‘We ate their lunch’: Democrats claim legislative victories with dealmaker Trump

  ‘We ate their lunch’: Democrats claim legislative victories with dealmaker Trump On a trade deal and a parental-leave agreement, Democrats locked in long-sought policy changes as the president seeks reelection winsThe frustrations of Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) about provisions of the new North American trade agreement were part of a contentious exchange that came as U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer briefed key Senate Republicans on details of the deal, according to three officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the private conversation.

The parental leave provision is a victory for federal workers, who would face benefit cuts under Mr. Trump's budget submissions. Those cuts have always been ignored by Congress, though pension changes were approved under GOP control of the House. The parental leave issue was a priority for

parental leave for all federal workers in exchange for establishing the Space Force as a separate military service under the Department of the Air Force. News of the deal that was made as part of negotiations for the defense authorization bill was first reported by the Wall Street Journal but later

In exchange for the parental leave policy, Democrats agreed to create Trump's Space Force.

Both the House and Senate had versions of a space military service in their bills, but neither mirrored the administration's original proposal. The House version could have created a Space Corps, while the Senate version would have created something it called Space Force without rewriting the U.S. code that would formally make it a new military branch.

The compromise bill would officially create a Space Force in U.S. code. The branch would be housed in the Department of the Air Force in a structure similar to the Marine Corps' relationship to the Department of the Navy. Space Force would be led by the chief of space operations, who would report directly to the Secretary of the Air Force and become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The bill would also create the new positions of assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration, who would be Senate-confirmed, and assistant secretary of Defense for space policy.

Despite the parental leave-for-Space-Force deal, House Democratic leaders could lose votes from progressives when the bill comes for a vote based on what was left out.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who sponsored the Iran and Yemen provisions that were taken out, will vote against the bill, his staff confirmed Monday.

Additionally, in a November letter, nearly 70 Democrats threatened to vote against the bill if it excluded the PFAS provisions.

In apparently effort to assuage their concerns, Hoyer announced Monday the House would take up a separate PFAS bill in January.

"Americans deserve action to address these harmful pollutants and the peace of mind that the water they drink is safe," Hoyer said in a statement. "In light of the exclusion of key PFAS amendments from the NDAA, I will bring the PFAS Action Act to the House Floor for a vote when the House reconvenes in January."

Senate sends $738B defense bill to Trump's desk .
The Senate passed a mammoth defense bill on Tuesday.Senators voted 86-8 to approve the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation cleared the House last week.

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